Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Marketing & PR: Challenges of marketing to women exposed

From PR Influences...

Women have long been identified as a distinct group for marketers to target. But now research in the US shows the pressures the key women’s buying group – aged 25-54 – faces, emphasising how difficult they can be to reach through traditional marketing activities.

A survey in the US undertaken by public relations agency Ketchum and research firm Synovate shows women 25-54:
  • trust experts (27 per cent), family and friends (26 per cent) and media reports (23 per cent) most in deciding about purchases,
  • consider direct mail (3 per cent) and advertising (2 per cent) as the least credible sources of information.

The research paints women 25-54 as having so many things on their mind, and so many tasks to undertake that they have little time for commercial messages.

Underscoring how little time they have in an average day for media, the survey disclosed that:

  • 74% of them spend more time thinking about other’s needs than their own, which is a higher percentage than other groups,
  • 70% are more likely to report feeling pulled in different directions than are men,
  • 62% say they have little time for commercial messages, with nearly two in five acknowledging they have to read or hear something more than once because they’re often distracted or interrupted. That’s much higher than the total public including their male counterparts,
  • 59% “rarely” or “never” read a newspaper from beginning to end, compared to 52% for the total public and 51% for men ages 25 to 54,
  • 58% have “much more” on their minds now than five years ago. That percentage is a startling 18% higher than that of the total public, 20% higher than men ages 25 to 54, and 35% higher than men in general,
  • 56% rarely or never read a magazine from cover to cover, a percentage that, surprisingly, is nearly similar to their male counterparts (57%),
  • 51% “frequently” watch a television program from start to finish, compared to 60% of men and 55% of the total public,
  • 47% frequently listen to the radio for more than 30 minutes straight versus 62% of their male counterparts.

“What the survey makes very clear is that women aged 25 to 54 are ‘multi-minding’ today – they’re constantly physically and mentally juggling those multiple facets of their complex lives,” maintains Kelley Skoloda, Director of Ketchum’s Global Brand Marketing Practice. “The previous term used to describe these women – ‘multitasking’ – is passé because it doesn’t capture the myriad dimensions of their lives.”

Ketchum’s Skoloda says the survey findings hold important implications for marketers:

  • Though women 25 to 54 respect the media (i.e. news and editorial) as a credible source of information, they don’t have a lot of time to absorb the information. So offering shorter chunks of information for women to digest will likely cut through the clutter,
  • Since this demographic group trust experts the most for information, tapping into experts will lend credibility to media reports, campaigns and messages,
  • While women ages 25 to 54 may not realise they’re indeed multi-minding, they have less information on how to deal with all of the thoughts and concerns they juggle,
  • Because these women spend a significant amount of time thinking of others, marketers likely can tap into women 25 to 54 by showing them how their products and services can help them take even better care of others, and themselves.

As a result of this survey, and other work Ketchum has done with marketing to women, the PR agency has developed a new suite of services and strategies under the banner ‘Women 25to54’. A first-of-its-kind, the four-phase communications program offers to identify create and deliver credible messaging that helps reach and connect these multi-minding female consumers.

Disclosure: Network PR, the publishers of PR Influences, is the Australian affiliate of Ketchum which is ranked among the leading international PR agencies.

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